Gender Differences in Mental Health Symptoms Among Canadian Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic: a Cross-Sectional Survey

Authors

  • Christina Reppas-Rindlisbacher University of Toronto; Women’s College Hospital
  • Alyson Mahar University of Manitoba; University of Toronto
  • Shailee Siddhpuria University of British Columbia
  • Rachel Savage Women’s College Hospital; University of Toronto
  • Julie Hallet University of Toronto
  • Paula Rochon Women’s College Hospital; University of Toronto

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.25.532

Keywords:

mental health, older adults, COVID-19, gender roles, women’s health, cross-sectional survey

Abstract

Background 

Older women’s mental health may be disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to differences in gender roles and living circumstances associating with aging. 

Methods 

We administered an online cross-sectional nationwide survey between May 1st and June 30th, 2020 to a convenience sample of older adults aged ≥55 years. Our outcomes were symptoms of depression, anxiety, and loneliness measured by three standardized scales: the eight-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the five-item Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Three-Item Loneliness Scale. Multivariable logistic regression was used to compare the odds of depression, anxiety and loneliness between men and women, adjusting for relevant confounders. 

Results 

There were 1,541 respondents (67.8% women, mean age 69.3 ± 7.8). 23.3% reported symptoms of depression (29.4% women, 17.0% men), 23.2% reported symptoms of anxiety (26.0% women, 19.0% men), and 28.0% were lonely (31.5% women, 20.9% men). After adjustment for confounders, the odds of reporting depressive symptoms were 2.07 times higher in women compared to men (OR 2.07 [95%CI 1.50–2.87] p < .0001). The odds of reporting anxiety and loneliness were also higher. 

Conclusions 

Older women had twice the odds of reporting depressive symptoms compared to men, an important mental health need that should be considered as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. 

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Published

2022-03-02

How to Cite

1.
Reppas-Rindlisbacher C, Mahar A, Siddhpuria S, Savage R, Hallet J, Rochon P. Gender Differences in Mental Health Symptoms Among Canadian Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic: a Cross-Sectional Survey. Can Geriatr J [Internet]. 2022 Mar. 2 [cited 2022 May 16];25(1):49-56. Available from: https://cgjonline.ca/index.php/cgj/article/view/532

Issue

Section

Original Research